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GREEK EDUCATION                         23

other great poets. Another change, which seemed to con-
servative people very ominous, was the separation of music
and words. In the earlier period, the pupils only learned in-
strumental music for the purpose of accompanying their own
singing, and consequently were restricted to instruments like
the lyre; but in these later times instruments like the flute, in
which music was necessarily dissociated from words, were
learned by the free-born boys.

But these innovations were small and unimportant compared
with those that had taken place in the education of the older
boys. Previously, as we have seen, these lads were left largely
to their own devices between the time when they left the palestra
and the music school and the time when they took the ephebic
oath at eighteen. The new education found its opportunity
in this vacant interval In the nature of the case, this education
was quite optional Only those who desired the new learning
required to apply themselves to it. Among these can be dis-
tinguished two groups, which however, were never sharply
demarcated.

The first were the youths who wanted a training that would
fit them for taking part in public life. Democratic government,
even more in Greece than in modern times, put power into the
hands of the orator, and it was the desire of every aspirant after
political distinction to fit himself to be an effective public speaker,"
Now this was a task of some considerable difficulty among a
people so well educated as the Athenians generally were, and it
made a special training advisable. This special training was
given by the sophists, ' In the literal meaning of the term, a
sophist is a wise man or sage, but in Athens the term in course
of time got narrowed till it applied mainly to certain foreign
(that is, non-Athenian) teachers, who professed to give young
men an education in literature and rhetoric as a preparation for
public life, Protagoras, the first of them, appeared in Athens
about 450 B,C, and was followed by a great many more. They
had no common doctrines or methods, and were of a mixed
character, some of them being men of great excellence, others
mere charlatans; Apart from the fact that they came from the
outlying regions of the Greek world, where speculation was much
freer than in Athens, their one common feature was their professed
ability to teach the young men the wisdom of life, But as a